It can be hard to talk about your feelings, so it makes sense that your kids aren’t exactly forthcoming when you try to pry what sort of day they’ve had out of them when you pick them up.
Knowing what sort of attitudes are walking into her classroom every morning is also something that can help teachers have the best day possible (and to get help for kids who need it but don’t know how to ask), which is what inspired middle school teacher Jessie Cayton’s bright idea.
She, along with other teachers who love the idea, have introduced a daily “check-in” board in their classrooms.
Students write their name on the back of sticky notes and then place it next to how they’re feeling on the board – Great, Okay, Meh, I’m Struggling, I’m Having a Tough Day and Could Use a Check-In, and I’m Not Doing Good.
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Started class with this check-in today & I’m so glad I did. Students wrote their name on the back of a sticky note and then placed it in the row that most accurately aligns with how they’re feeling right now. ••• Time away from school is really hard for some of my kids. Coming back to school can be really tough, too. We’re sleepy, or cranky, or anxious, or turned all the way up to 1,000. It’s easy to misinterpret behavior and it’s cause. But I’m grateful (especially as the day goes on) to have a little context for why we might be making the choices we are. Even though there are like 12 minutes till STAAR, it’s worth it to take a minute to do a check-in and follow up with kids. I’m glad, too, for them to take a minute to figure out how they’re feeling. Happy Monday, y’all! [just found the og creator of the version I’d seen in several places on insta! She has a version in her tpt store! Thanks, @makingastatementinsped!]
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Jessie is loving the results, and thinks it’s helping her be a better teacher to her kids on any given day.
“Time away from school is really hard for some of my kids. Coming back to school can be really tough, too. We’re sleepy, or cranky, or anxious, or turned all the way up to 1000. It’s easy to misinterpret behavior and it’s cause, so I’m grateful (especially as the day goes on) to have a little context for why we might be making the choices we are.”
Teachers and parents are loving the unique approach to keeping a finger on the pulse of their kids’ mental health. Jessie gave credit to Erin Castillo, a high school English teacher for students with extra learning needs, because the board was originally her idea.
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Made this mental health check in chart after seeing @missjohnstonsjourney use a digital version for teachers on her #okayteacher Facebook page. I asked my students to write their names on the back of a post-it note so I could check in with ones in the bottom two sections. I explained the green section as them struggling, but speaking to another adult or trying to work through it themselves. ••• I was able to start some check ins today, and holy cow these kids. I love them. My heart hurts for them. High school is rough sometimes, but I was happy that a few were given a safe space to vent and work through some feelings. ••• I also like that students could visually see that they aren’t alone in their struggles. It was a beautiful minimum day focusing on self care and mental health. ••• ?UPDATE: just added a printable version with detail instructions so you can do this in your classroom! It’s FREE!? • • • #mentalhealthawareness #highschoolteacher #secondaryela #teacherorganization #teachings #anchorcharts #teachersofinstagram #teachersfollowteachers #teachersfollowingteachers #iteachtoo #teachertips #weareteachers #teacherspayteachers #teacherideas #teachingideas #specialeducationteacher #teacherlove #teach #weteachsped #teacher #iteachhighschool #elateacher #teachergoals #igteacher #igteachers #teachersofig
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She focuses on building relationships and connections with her kids and thinks that giving them the tools to communicate that things are not okay is one of the most important things we can do.
Here’s hoping that her ideas and philosophy continue to spread like wildfire, because more information and insight into the minds of our kids is never a bad thing.